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Frédéric Volpi compares the academic disciplines that "observe" contemporary political Islam to the actual individuals and communities that are being observed by them. Zeroing in on the social sciences and their distinct approach to "Islamic" subject matter, Volpi shows how disciplines analyze political Islam according to their own dominant paradigms. Even with the incorporation of specialist viewpoints, the interdisciplinary drive often results in nothing more than educated guesses geared toward political and public consumption. Volpi argues that the competition between these paradigms obscures the actual dynamics and cohesiveness of political Islam. He identifies the strengths and weaknesses of disciplinary approaches toward the Islamist phenomenon and takes the first step in developing an account based on post-orientalism, international relations, the sociology of religion, and studies in democratization, multiculturalism, security analysis, and globalization. Political Islam Observed